The days when cell phones were merely tools for calling and texting are decades behind us. Today's phones are powerful pocket-sized computers doubling as fashion accessories, status symbols, and an expression of one's individuality. This is why tech specs aren't enough for a phone to sell well. To move by the millions, a phone also needs to please the eye.
And making a phone draw attention is now more difficult than ever, with all phones looking largely the same. To make a phone stand out with its appearance, a company needs to innovate.
This brings us to Samsung – a company that for a while has been saying "Do what you can't"
in its ads and promo videos. True to that slogan, the Aura Glow Samsung Galaxy Note 10
looks dazzling, with blends of colors shifting hues depending on how light hits its surface. It makes one wonder how such an effect has been achieved.
The Aura Glow Galaxy Note 10+ next to the Galaxy Note 9
"In order to showcase new colors in the Galaxy Note 10, we looked at emerging and new trends from younger people, and we wanted to express colors that were undefined, that didn't belong to any conventional notion of what a color should be," said Samsung when we asked about how the Aura Glow Note 10 came to be. "Young millennials, who are digital natives from their earliest years, have adopted and accepted a creative, wide spectrum of colors. Aura Glow was chosen as a characteristic of the Millennial generation."
But how exactly was the Aura Glow effect achieved on the Galaxy Note 10? How do you make a piece of glass reflect rainbow-like colors? With science, of course!
As you may remember from your high school physics classes, light is an electromagnetic wave. Fundamentally, it's the same thing as radio waves, microwaves, and X-rays, among other types of electromagnetic radiation. The length of a wave within the visible light spectrum determines its color.
Visible light comprises just a small portion of the electromagnetic spectrum
Now, you may have noticed that there is no white light shown in the graphic above. That's because white light, such as the light that Mr Sun shines upon us, is a combination of light waves of different frequencies. This can be easily demonstrated by shining white light through a prism and observing the different colors of light on the other side.
White light passing through a prism is broken down into colors
Why is white light broken down into individual colors after passing through a prism? Because light waves change speed and direction as they pass from one medium (air) to another (glass). But the change in speed and direction is slightly different for different wavelengths (colors), which is why white light spreads out as a rainbow-like array of colors.
You don't necessarily need a prism to observe this phenomenon. It also occurs when light beams pass through fine droplets of water, hence we have rainbows in the sky after a rain or over the sprinkler in the yard.
A beautiful double rainbow over a lake
Another way of observing rainbow-like colors is by looking at the shiny underside of a CD. In this case, the visual effect is the result of the microscopic, spiral-shaped data track reflecting white light – and at the same time bending the different colors it consists of in a process called diffraction. And again, some colors bend a bit more than others. Light waves reflected from one groove interfere with waves bouncing from grooves next to it, making certain colors more saturated and others less so.
Samsung made the Aura Glow effect of the Galaxy Note 10 by taking advantage of this phenomenon. As the company puts it,
"In the design process, Prism was inspired by the effect of putting normal light through a spectrum into a number of colors, and developed a fine nano pattern film. This was then followed by a process of several layers that allowed it to give Aura Glow a refined color spectrum. The prismatic effect was achieved with a nano film which went through a processes similar to a semiconductor wafer fabrication process – in essence building the layers through a repeated process to create the beautiful prism look."
To give credit where credit is due, HTC was one of the first major companies to deliver a phone with a color-shifting design. The device in question was the HTC U11
from 2017, released in 5 color options. The Solar Red variant, seen in the middle of the pack below, transitioned from bright red to mustard yellow, depending on the angle from which it was viewed.
The HTC U11 in five different colors
But as much attention as the Aura Glow Galaxy Note 10 has been getting, not everyone is a fan of its colorful look. True, it does get a bit smudgy as it is used, but on top of that, some people do find the visual effect distracting. For them, Samsung has the Note 10 in pink, red, black, or white, as well as the Note 10+ in blue, black, or white.
Which side are you on? Do you like the Aura Glow Note 10 or would you prefer your Note 10 in a more classic color? Let us know below!